Activists say the high street chain has a ‘muddled’ policy on fur (Picture: Humane Society International)

House of Fraser is back to selling fur online after removing raccoon trimmed coats from its website and shops last month in response to massive uproar.

Campaigners have been speaking to staff in branches of the Mike Ashley owned business across the country and say their policy appears to be ‘muddled’

Activists from the Humane Society have found a sign in the department store’s Bath branch saying it would still sell ‘responsibly sourced’ fur, but managers in London insist a company-wide ban is in effect.

The House of Fraser website is currently selling clothing made using raccoons and rabbits, despite products appearing to be removed online after the uproar in November.

Humane Society International UK director Claire Bass told Metro.co.uk: ‘I think people are willing to forgive when companies get it wrong.

Claire Bass says the idea of ‘ethically sourced’ fur is a ‘paradox’ (Picture: Humane Society International)
The fur on this coat is listed on House of Fraser’s website as being ‘100% raccoon’

‘But it’s much easier to do that if they’re then clear about the mistake and then put their hands up and say “we went astray from our policy” and say that was the wrong thing to do. I think the uncertainty isn’t really helping them.’

The department store said it had a ‘strict no-fur’ policy in 2017 but appeared to start going back on this after it was taken over by the Sports Direct founder last year.

Protesters also hit the streets across the country last weekend demanding clothing chain Flannels re-instate the no-fur policy signed in April 2012, a few months before it was brought under the wing of Mr Ashley’s empire.

Commenting on the sign in the Bath store which says ‘No fur product is stocked in House of Fraser (unless it is responsibly sourced)’, Claire said that is a ‘paradox’ because ‘there’s no such thing’.

She said the firm’s policy is ‘a muddle’ as management at the East Croydon insisted ‘Oh there’s no fur here’, as have staff in many other branches across the country.

Claire added: ‘I think there’s not great internal communications going on at House of Fraser at the moment.

Animals farmed for fur will live miserable lives stuffed in battery cages
House of Fraser invites customers to ‘lift your wardrobe with this Pakito rabbit gilet from Max et Moi

‘Their customer service team and there staff on the shop floor kind of look at you really blankly, they say we don’t sell fur. We say “What’s this on your website?”

‘I rang the Bath store because if you’re lucky you can get through to an actual human being. The woman said “we need to check policy”.

‘That was on Monday, we’ve heard nothing since. They have been evasive with activists and journalists.’

She said Mr Ashley is ‘obviously just trying anything to see what works to bring in a few extra quid,’ but says selling fur has ‘really backfired’, as more people see it as ‘unnecessary,  outdated and archaic’.

When House of Fraser hit the headlines last month over fur sales, Claire says there was quite a mix of animals being used including raccoon dogs and rabbits from China and foxes from Finland.

Claire added: ‘We disabuse the people of the notion that fur farming in Finland or the US is any different really.

Protesters gathered outside Flannels stores, also owned by Sports Direct, last weekend (Picture: Stop Fur at Flannels)
Both stores appear to have gone back on their no-fur pledges since coming under Mike Ashley’s empire (Picture: BPI/REX)
The low cost of some animal coats is a ‘sad reflection of how cheap life is on the fur farm’, says Claire (Picture: Humane Society International)

‘The reality is for farming is it’s predicated on a battery cage farming system and that’s the same whether it’s in China or Finland really.’

Another misconception pointed out by Claire is that cheaper products are more likely be made using faux-fur instead of the real thing.

Sometimes the price is lower, which the campaigner called ‘a sad reflection of how cheap life is on the fur farm’.

She added: ‘That tells you something about the level of care that’s been afforded to an animal.’

Claire also warned shoppers to be particularly vigilant at Christmas markets where stallholders could be unwittingly selling real fur which consumers assume is fake because it’s so cheap.

Demonstrators are still demanding answers from both high street brands (Picture: Stop Fur at Flannels)
They say many big names such as Prada, Gucci and Burberry have committed to no-fur (Picture: Stop Fur at Flannels)

Protesters gathered outside Flannels stores across the country on Saturday last week demanding the store goes fur free.

Activists lay on the ground wearing muscle-patterned bodysuits while their coats were peeled off them.

A spokesperson for Stop Fur at Flannels said the campaign is ‘gaining momentum’ all the time.

They added: ‘Big names in fashion such as Prada, Burberry, Gucci and Georgio Armani have in recent times dropped fur and we call on Flannels to do the same.’

Metro.co.uk has made numerous attempts to contact House of Fraser and Flannels but has had no response.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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